NEW YORK — Jonathon Niese handed a five-run lead to the New York Mets bullpen, then watched from the bench as it started to unravel.
Frank Francisco walked a pair of batters with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, then gave up a two-run double to Martin Prado that put the potential tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second.
New York was on the verge of another collapse. And when Jason Heyward swung and missed at strike three, the slider was in the dirt and rolled under catcher Rob Johnson.
Oh, oh, Mets’ fans.
Only Johnson took his time, and his throw just beat Heyward for the final out.
Mets 6, Braves 5.
“That was tough. I can’t sugarcoat that by any means,” Niese said after Sunday night’s goofy ending. “But they got the job done, and that’s all that matters.”
Niese pitched six-hit ball over eight innings, and David Wright sparked the offense with a pair of doubles against Ben Sheets as the Mets salvaged the finale of a three-game series.